Sacred Heart students install wood duck boxes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

The LandTrust for Central N.C.

SALISBURY — The Leopold Society at Sacred Heart Catholic School turned out on a rainy Tuesday on March 20 at the LandTrust’s Two Rivers Property in Davie County. More than 60 students joined LandTrust staff to install 17 wood duck boxes.

Hillary Shores, a sixth- through eighth-grade science teacher at Sacred Heart, is the mentor for the Leopold Society students.

With green iridescent heads and hoods with white outlines, and their red penetrating eyes and burgundy chests, wood ducks are considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfowl found in these parts.

At one point, the number of wood ducks was decreasing primarily because of overhunting and loss of nesting habitat. In terms of hunting, the species is second in number only to the mallard.

As a result of a variety of efforts, including changes in hunting regulations and placing and monitoring nesting boxes, the species now appears to be increasing in number.

“The LandTrust is proud to have worked with Sacred Heart on this wood duck nest box project,” said Executive Director Travis Morehead. “This is the reason we created the Leopold Society, to get children involved in conservation of our natural world and to have an impact on the next generation of conservation leaders.”

The Leopold Society is for youths in grades six to 12. Participants learn conservation techniques, outdoor skills, and hands-on natural resource stewardship and service. They engage in outdoor recreation and skill-building activities.

Many of the activities are completed independently with the intent to bring families together in the outdoors. The long-term goal of the program is to instill a lifelong appreciation of nature in youths that will translate into positive action as adults.

The program includes a “passport” with requirements for the participants to complete activities related to the outdoors, such as hiking, paddling, hunting, fishing and orienteering. Along with the skills developed, participants are asked to complete a service project, such as trail maintenance, developing a school recycling program, a new hunter mentorship program, or to start a native plants garden.

The service project can be completed independently or as part of a class. As students complete activities, they receive stamps and patches to recognize their achievements.

Leopold Society memberships are $15 for youth participants. Anyone interested in joining the Leopold Society or getting a child’s school involved should contact Sam at sam@landtrustcnc.org or 704-647-0302.

Sacred Heart will be partnering with LandTrust for a summer camp June 25-29. The camp will feature outdoor learning, nature exploration and lessons in conservation and ecology.

The camp is open to middle school students who want to learn more about nature and conservation. For more information, contact the school office 704-633-2841.

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